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Cardamon. This is the second most expensive spice in the Gulf. The best cardamom pods are the size of peas, pale brown or greenish in colour. When the pods are opened, the tiny seeds inside should be dark, shiny and very aromatic. The flavour of cardamom is essintial in both Gulf and India curries.

It has a warm, oily but sharp taste and an anaesthetic effect on the tongue. Sometimes the whole pod is used, but usually the seeds are taken out and freshly ground with other spices. Gah-wa is richly flavoured with cardamom as are sweet dishes, including cakes and custard.

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